One out of every six families in Berkeley County is food deprived. Two thirds of them are children. While in school most of the children are receiving the needed nutrition to keep them healthy. What about when they go home? Teachers are finding that on a continuous basis, students are coming to school on Mondays starving and unable to focus on their schoolwork. Children have enough struggles growing up; they shouldn’t have to worry about being hungry. This is becoming an epidemic in our country and nothing will change unless we make the commitment to make a difference.
In 2010, One Hope Ministries International, decided to do something about this growing problem in our area. Bags of Love, a non-profit organization, is the first program in the Eastern Panhandle designed to assist and provide food for recognized needy children in our school system. Bags of Love (BOL) began feeding 20 kids in one Elementary School and have now grown to feeding nearly 230 kids in Berkeley and Jefferson County every weekend.
Each Friday, the Guidance Counselor or another school official, privately puts a bag of non-perishable, nutritious food in the student’s backpacks to take home on the weekend and over the holiday breaks to assure that they aren’t going home hungry.
One Parent shared full gratitude as she explained to me that “Bags of Love has helped to alleviate some of the financial stress during a difficult time for her family.” One of the students stated that getting his bag on Friday’s is one of his favorite parts of the week.
As a local 5th Grade teacher in Berkeley County myself, I was humbly honored when I was asked to take over as the Coordinator of the Bags of Love Program. As a teacher we do all we can for our students academically and often emotionally, but I have always wanted to do more. Now I have the opportunity to witness the joy of these children when they receive their bag and the security of knowing they will not be hungry when they go home.
Pastor Fred Lee of Worship Life Ministries states: “Through the effort of One Hope, I believe the Bags of Love ministry makes a positive difference in the families’ lives that it serves as we follow the teaching of Jesus Christ. He came to serve and not to be served.”
Bags of Love continues to grow and expand. Schools are being added. Inner city apartment complexes are asking for our help. And we currently have hundreds of kids on a waiting list.
This program runs strictly on donations and fundraising. It cost currently $4,000.00 a month to keep BOL feeding our hungry children, but this amount changes almost weekly as more students are being added to the program. By sponsoring a school or committing to a monthly donation, you as an individual or your church or organization could make a huge difference in the young lives that we are blessing through Bags of Love.
BOL operates on the foundations of truth and integrity from finances which are overseen by a professional local CPA, to leaders who have a huge heart and dedication to helping our youth.
No child should ever go hungry. Bags of Love is making sure that statement becomes a reality in our region.
The Children are counting on you. Bags of Love needs your financial support! How much can you donate in 2013 to help end Childhood hunger in the Eastern Panhandle?
Bags of Love Coordinator